A recent but fast-growing phenomenon, craft breweries are cropping up everywhere, and there are now 1,992 of them dotting all of continental France.
The surge in new microbreweries has never been as strong as now. “On January 1, 2020, there were nearly 2,000 breweries, only eight of which were slightly larger,” Maxime Costilhes, general delegate for Brewers of France, informs us. That number has grown exponentially, since there were just 1,000 microbreweries in France in 2015, and only 334 in 2010. Production was moribund in the 80s, when there were only 23 breweries in all of France.
With that remarkable expansion, France has become the European leader by number of breweries – ahead of both the United Kingdom and Germany – and second in the world.
In terms of production, France is eighth in Europe, for a market that generated €4.1 billion in revenue in 2019.
Craft beers are one of the outgrowths of a new philosophy of life: microbreweries’ market positioning is local, artisanal and often organic, and they tend to favor local distribution channels.
“In the 2000s, artisanal brewers and farm-breweries created a new local, high-end product,” Maxime Costilhes explains. “Creating the supply has revived demand.”
- France exports 30% of its production –
That supply has found plenty of fans over the past decade. “The number of breweries is going to keep growing in 2020: there’s a new brewery opening every day in France,” Maxime Costilhes points out. One reason for that is because opening a brewery is unregulated: there are no degrees or training required. Brewers simply have to declare their production to the French customs office.
Known in the world of beer production for the quality of its ingredients, France is the world’s second-largest exporter of malt. ”One out of every five beers brewed the world over is made with French brewer’s barley or malt,” Maxime Costilhes boasts.
France exports one-third of its beer, essentially to Spain and the United Kingdom. The selection is lush and varied, with barrel-aged beers, beers blended with grape must, and more. “French brewers are known for being innovative and taking great care with their product. That means they can propose an extremely varied selection, which is the key to French beer’s success,” he says in conclusion.